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October 07, 2004 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-10-07

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2A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 7, 2004

Inspector: NEWS IN BRIEF 8~

No proof
after 1991
WASHINGTON (AP) - Contradict-
ing the main argument for a war that
has cost more than 1,000 American
lives, the top U.S. arms inspector said
yesterday he found no evidence that Iraq
produced any weapons of mass destruc-
tion after 1991. He also concluded that
Saddam Hussein's capabilities to devel-
op such weapons had dimmed - not
grown - during a dozen years of sanc-
tions before last year's U.S. invasion.
Contrary to prewar statements by
President Bush and top administration
officials, Saddam did not have chemi-
cal and biological stockpiles when the
war began and his nuclear capabilities
were deteriorating, not advancing, said
Charles Duelfer, head of the Iraq Survey
Meanwhile, in Iraq a suicide car
bomber plowed into an Iraqi military
checkpoint yesterday, killing 16 Iraqis
and wounding about 30, as U.S. and
Iraqi forces sealed off roads south of the
capital in a campaign to curb the insur-
gency before January's elections.
There were hopeful signs, however,
that talks may produce a cease-fire
agreement with a Shiite militia head-
ed by radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr
- although residents of his stronghold
Sadr City reported explosions in the
area late yesterday.
The bombing and the findings of
the Iraq Survey Group's report come
less than four weeks before an election
in which Bush's handling of Iraq has
become the central issue. Democratic
candidate John Kerry has seized on
comments by the former U.S. admin-
istrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer, that the
United States did not have enough
troops in Iraq to prevent lawlessness
after Saddam was toppled.
The inspector's report could boost
Kerry's contention that Bush rushed to
war based on faulty intelligence and
that United Nations sanctions and U.N.
weapons inspectors should have been
given more time.
But Duelfer also supports Bush's argu-
ment that Saddam remained a threat.
Interviews with the toppled leader and
other former Iraqi officials made clear that
Saddam had not lost his ambition to pursue
weapons of mass destruction and hoped to
revive his weapons program if U.N. sanc-
tions were lifted, his report said.
"What is clear is that Saddam retained
his notions of use of force, and had expe-
riences that demonstrated the utility of
WMD," Duelfer told Congress.
Campaigning in Pennsylvania, Bush
defended the decision to invade.
"There was a risk, a real risk, that Sad-
dam Hussein would pass weapons or
materials or information to terrorist net-
works," Bush said in a speech in Wilkes
Barre, Pa. "In the world after Sept. 11, that
was a risk we could not afford to take."
But a top Democrat in Congress, Sen.
Carl Levin of Michigan, said Duelfer's
findings undercut the two main argu-
ments for war: that Saddam had weapons
of mass destruction and that he would
share them with terrorists like al-Qaida.
"We did not go to war because Sad-
dam had future intentions to obtain
weapons of mass destruction," said
Levin, ranking Democrat on the Senate
Armed Services Committee.
Under questioning from Levin,
Duelfer said his report found that alumi-
num tubes suspected of being used for
enriching uranium for use in a nuclear

bomb were likely destined for conven-
tional rockets and that there is no evi-
dence Iraq sought uranium abroad after
1991. Both findings contradict claims
made by Bush and other top administra-
tion officials before the war.
He also found no evidence of trail-
ers being used to develop biological
weapons, Duelfer said, although he
said he couldn't flatly declare that
none existed.
Traveling in Africa, British Prime
Minister Tony Blair said the report
shows Saddam was "doing his best"
to evade the U.N. sanctions. Duelfer
presented his findings in a report
of more than 1,000 pages, and in
appearances before the Armed Ser-
vices Committee and the Senate
Intelligence Committee.
The report avoids direct compari-
sons with prewar claims by the Bush
administration on Iraq's weapons sys-
tems. But Duelfer largely reinforces
the conclusions of his predecessor,
David Kay, who said in January, "We
were almost all wrong" on Saddam's
weapons programs.

S. ~ Sg * III

. . :

EU plans to let Turkey join ranks
In a historic move that could extend Europe's borders to the edge of the volatile
Middle East, the European Union recommended yesterday setting mostly Muslim
Turkey on a course for full membership in the prosperous 25-nation bloc.
Reflecting widespread misgivings, however, the 30-member EU executive com-
mission set tough conditions to prevent Turkey from backtracking on sweeping
democratic and human rights reforms.
"This is a qualified yes," said European Commission President Romano Prodi.
"Our position is a positive one, but also a prudent, cautious one."
French President Jacques Chirac said talks with Turkey could last 10 to 15 years
"at a minimum."
Such caution reflected unease throughout a prosperous and mostly Christian
continent about union with a poorer Muslim nation that could be a source of unwel-
come migrants. Many Europeans recall the old Ottoman Empire, seen as a hostile
power that once ruled swaths of Europe to the gates of Vienna, Austria, leaving a
legacy of corruption in its wake.
It is now up to the EU's 25 leaders to approve the recommendation at a summit
in December, paving the way for the start of entry talks as early as next year.
Iran says it has processed tons of uranium
Iran said yesterday it has processed several tons of raw "yellowcake" uranium
to prepare it for enrichment - a key step in developing atomic weapons - in defi-
ance of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency.
Converting raw uranium into hexafluoride gas does not violate any agreements
Iran has made regarding its nuclear program and was done with the full knowledge
of the International Atomic Energy Agency. However, it draws Iran and the United
States - which quickly voiced its disapproval - closer to a showdown before the
U.N. Security Council.
The IAEA board of governors specifically demanded last month that Iran stop
all enrichment-related activities, and cited the plans to convert raw uranium into
hexafluoride gas as particularly alarming. Iran has refused to back down, and its
parliament is studying a bill that would require the government to proceed with the
enrichment process over any objections.
Hossein Mousavian, Iran's chief delegate to the IAEA, would not specify how
much hexafluoride gas had been produced, but he said a few tons of raw uranium
- also known as yellowcake - had been converted.
Export tax break repeal to end trade dispute
A major rewrite of corporate tax law that would end a nasty trade dispute with
Europe won approval yesterday from congressional negotiators after House Repub-
licans beat back efforts to increase regulation of tobacco.
The measure would repeal a tax break for thousands of American export-
ers that has been ruled illegal by the World Trade Organization. As a
replacement, the proposal offers more than $140 billion in tax breaks for a
wide range of businesses, from multinational companies to bow and arrow
Fishermen, farmers and taxpayers in seven states that do not have individual
state income taxes would also benefit.
Aristide loyalists begin Iraq-style rebellion
U.N. peacekeepers and Haitian police in armored personnel carriers moved in
on a downtown slum, trying to put down a campaign by loyalists of ousted Presi-
dent Jean-Bertrand Aristide who have carried out a number of gory beheadings in
imitation of Iraqi insurgents.
Yesterday morning, the headless body of a man lay in the street in La Salines,
a seaside slum facing Port-au-Prince port. An Associated Press Television News
cameraman watched a convoy of U.N. peacekeepers drive around the body. No
head was in sight.
Three police officers were decapitated last week when Aristide supporters
launched the guerrilla campaign, dubbed "Operation Baghdad."
- Compiled from Daily wire reports




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